Who is the Artistic Mermaid?
An artist, a diver, an ocean activist, Anna-K Cuffe is a mermaid in her truest form.
Born and based in Kingston Jamaica, Anna-K Cuffe is a ceramic artist, a reef rescue diver and an ocean activist. She completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2017 at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, receiving the Cecil Baugh Award for Excellence in Ceramics. Initially, her sculptures often took a formalistic approach to art; focusing exclusively on the form of the pieces rather than the content. However, she soon ventured away from solely creating art for art’s sake and aimed instead to contribute to the conversation about our dying coral reefs. In 2020 she was invited to return as a part time lecturer at her alma mater, making her, at the time, the youngest lecturer at the School of Visual Arts.
“Why is it that scuba divers and surfers are some of the strongest advocates of ocean conservation? Because they’ve spent time in and around the ocean, and they’ve personally seen the beauty, the fragility, and even the degradation of our planet’s blue heart.”
From the intricately embellished patchwork of the corals themselves to the countless multicolored creatures that reside in the crevices of the reefs, every cubic inch of a prosperous coral habitat appears to be thriving and teeming with complexity. Over the years I have gained admiration and appreciation for these diverse and beautiful marine habitats that consist of such mesmerizing details that still contributes to not only the oceans’ creatures but also to man. Therefore, to see the deterioration from the once buzzing, thriving and incredibly lush coral reefs to now an algae field encrusting dead coral skeletons causes great remorse. Large areas once covered with vast piles of delicate branching stag-horn coral are now piles of eroding rubble, absent are the multitude of fishes and invertebrates that once dwelled in the crevices of the reefs. Even more disturbing and alarming is the fact that persons are unaware of the wondrous treasure that has been lost. Our lack of connection to this under ocean world has led to a sense of apathy regarding its decline, but through art, is it possible to create a connection that will enact a positive change?